HP&P Named “Community Theater of the Year”

HADDONFIELD, NJ — Haddonfield Plays & Players (HP&P) is pleased to announce that it was named Community Theater of the Year, at the 2019 NJACT Perry Awards, held September 15 at The Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, New Jersey.

“This award is for all of us, those who are here now and those who have given their time and their hearts across all the years to bring HP&P  to where we are today,” said HP&P President David Stavetski.

For more than 40 years, the NJACT Perry Awards have recognized outstanding achievements in community theater. Each year, more than 200 shows produced by theater companies across New Jersey are evaluated, which require more than 400 reviews by trained NJACT volunteers. The Community Theater of the Year is a special Perry Award given to a New Jersey theater organization that has made a significant contribution to its community. 

HP&P had a banner 2018-19 season, which included the theater’s 85th main stage season and the 20th anniversary of its groundbreaking “Number the Stars” Holocaust education program that has reached approximately 20,000 K-12 students through the years—an anniversary observed by Newbery Award-winning author Lois Lowry. Its production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” also won the 2018 BroadwayWorld New Jersey Award for Best Play. Additionally, HP&P was honored to receive $87K in grant funding from the Columbia Bank Foundation to support capital improvement initiatives at the theater. 

“I thought it would be difficult to put into words why HP&P deserved the award this year,” said Deb Mitchell, who nominated the theater when another theater member, Jennifer Kopesky-Doyle, told her about the award.

“As I began to gather information for the nomination, I realized how much the theater meant to me and my family over the past 20 years and how proud I am of its long history of achievements and contributions to the community, including its mission to keep its quality programming diverse and affordable, its generosity toward other groups needing theater space, and its dedication to education and the Number the Stars Holocaust Education Program,” said Mitchell. “Speaking from the heart, the words just flowed.“

In addition to staging multiple theatrical productions and special events each year, HP&P is proud of the number and quality of programs geared towards pre-K through 12 kids and beyond. Kids can start learning about the arts as early as age four as part of the StageTeenies group. From there they can move up to StageKidz, HP&P longest-tenured program. 

“Every year we produce engaging, enjoyable shows and offer enriching educational programs like Stage Kidz and Number the Stars,” said Stavetski. “We are a home for so many artists, and we open our home to friends in our community—Bancroft, Brandywine Living, and the artists of Shining Stars.”

Shining Stars, presented in partnership with Amazing Transformations, offers teens and young adults with Autism, PDD, Aspergers, Downs Syndrome, Fragile X, and other developmental disabilities an opportunity to show off their talents, expand their social skills, develop friendships, and build self-esteem.

2019 Perry Award nominations were received in the following categories:

Outstanding Lighting Design of a Play
Chris Miller, A CHRISTMAS STORY, Haddonfield Plays and Players

Outstanding Sound Design of a Play
Pat DeFusco, A CHRISTMAS STORY, Haddonfield Plays and Players

Outstanding Properties in a Play
Dave Stavetski, Donna Scherz & Lisa Stickel, A CHRISTMAS STORY, Haddonfield Plays and Players

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Vinnie DiFillipo, HIGH FIDELITY, Haddonfield Plays and Players

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Faith McCleery, HIGH FIDELITY, Haddonfield Plays and Players

Outstanding Youth Actor in a Play
Zach Johnson, A CHRISTMAS STORY, Haddonfield Plays and Players
Kevin Stickel, A CHRISTMAS STORY, Haddonfield Plays and Players

Outstanding Youth Actress in a Play
Emma Scherz, A CHRISTMAS STORY, Haddonfield Plays and Players

About HP&P

Haddonfield Plays & Players is a gathering of dedicated individuals who come together to provide quality theater at an affordable price to a wide range of Delaware Valley audiences, as well as to provide a creative outlet for non-professionals, all in an atmosphere of personal and social enrichment that is open to all persons with a commitment to non-profit theater. We offer a wide variety of productions, from comedies to mysteries to musicals. Besides our normal season productions, we also produce shows and programming aimed specifically at children and families as well as special productions for school groups, like our enormously successful Stage Kidz program. Haddonfield Plays and Players is located at 957 East Atlantic Ave., Haddonfield, NJ, 08033.